Alumni Update: Vladyslav Shapoval, Ukraine

Hello there! My name is Vladyslav Shapoval, and I am a Ukrainian Global UGRAD alumnus who completed the program just over half a year ago. During my studies at the University of Houston-Victoria, I decided to take classes that I would not be able to take at my home university. So, I took Fundamentals of Public Speaking, Media Literacy, and a few others. I enjoyed all of them very much, but Fundamentals of Public Speaking was my favorite and the most significant. It left me wanting to study communication further. Since then, I have been taking important steps toward that goal.

When I completed my Global UGRAD semester and came back home to Ukraine, it felt like the end of the world. Eventually, I understood that Global UGRAD was just one part of something bigger. After a month of frustration and uncomfortable adjustments, I received a call from a friend who worked in the local youth center. She asked me, “Vlad, you told me you studied public speaking in the United States. Do you want to share about your experience at our tent camp?” I said, “Sure!” I started looking through my materials and reading my lecture notes. I was so passionate about preparing this training.

I departed from my home city bright and early. When I arrived, the participants greeted me in English because it was an English-speaking camp. After a few hours of training, the students were so happy and glad that I came and shared knowledge with them. This experience really changed my view on things – I became more motivated, and the frustration disappeared. After the training, I asked my friend if I could do one more training for their center. She was happy that I offered it and agreed.

A few months later, we launched registration and there were more than 10 people who expressed interest. For a small city like mine, this was wonderful news! The most important part was the training being conducted in English. When the training ended, participants said that they would like to do similar training in the future. I informed my friend at the center, and she said I could create a project and apply for the municipality funding. With her recommendation, I decided to apply. I named the project, “Academy of Oratory.” At the end of December 2019, I received the wonderful news that my project was approved. I was so happy! This is yet another small victory toward my goal.

I have conducted four of these training events so far and realized my passion and interest to continue studying communication on the professional level in order to become an expert and teach it to others. Now, I am so excited to start at my Academy and learn more and more about communication.

The Global UGRAD Program has given me a direction for my future, which is learning about and sharing the importance of communication. This has become more than just a passion, but a lifelong goal I can work towards.

Vladyslav Shapoval, Ukraine, 2018-19, University of Houston-Victoria